Exhibitions/ Art Object

[Imperial Library of the Louvre]

Artist:
Édouard Baldus (French, born Prussia, 1813–1889)
Date:
1856–57
Medium:
Salted paper print from glass negative
Dimensions:
43.9 x 34.2 cm. (17 1/4 x 13 7/16 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1994
Accession Number:
1994.137
Not on view
The grandest of Napoleon III's projects was the New Louvre-the construction of wings linking the Louvre and Tuileries Palaces and the clearing of existing buildings in what would become the huge courtyard of the imperial residences. Fullfilling the decades-long dream of various French sovereigns, the New Louvre of Napoleon III sought in a literal way to tie the Second Empire to the noble legacy of Catherine de Medici and Louis XIV.

Baldus, the best architectural photographer of the day, was commissioned to make a visual record of the construction, beginning in 1854. Beyond admirably fulfilling their documentary function, works such as this one are among his most carefully crafted and clearly articulated demonstrations of photography's unparalleled capacity to render the play of light and volume and to record the most intricate details, unmediated by picturesque convention or personal style of draftsmanship.

The façade shown nearing completion in this photograph faces the rue de Rivoli, opposite the Palais Royal, and is now an entrance to the Louvre museum. The passageway through the principal arch leads to the glass pyramid designed by I. M. Pei.
Inscription: Signed in negative, BLC: "E. Baldus." ; facsimile signature stamp (large) in blue ink on mount, BR, below photograph: "E. Baldus"; inscribed in pencil on mount, recto BRC: "10"; inscribed in pencil on mount, verso BC: "RMG#Ba9011.111-0"
Robert Miller Gallery

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Edouard Baldus," October 3, 1994–December 31, 1994.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Photographs of Édouard Baldus," October 3, 1994–December 31, 1994.

Montreal. Canadian Centre for Architecture. "Edouard Baldus," January 24, 1995–April 23, 1995.

Canadian Centre for Architecture. "The Photographs of Édouard Baldus," January 24, 1995–April 23, 1995.

Musée National des Monuments Français. "The Photographs of Édouard Baldus," May 13, 1995–August 11, 1995.

Paris. Musée National des Monuments Français. "Edouard Baldus," January 17, 1996–April 15, 1996.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Photographs: A Decade of Collecting," June 5, 2001–September 4, 2001.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Framing a Century: Master Photographers, 1840–1940," June 3, 2008–September 1, 2008.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Napoleon III and Paris," June 9–September 7, 2009.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Jeff L. Rosenheim. "Paris as Muse: Photography, 1840s – 1930s," January 27, 2014–May 4, 2014.

This pavilion is now the entrance to the Musée du Louvre on rue de Rivoli, opposite the Palais Royal.
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